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Sources Say: GOP Senate contenders strike fear from sidelines

How powerful are Monica Wehby and Jason Conger, two Republicans running for the chance to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley in the 2015 general election? Powerful enough to prevent the Senate from extending unemployment benefits, according to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“Monica Wehby and Jason Conger’s reckless refusal to support the renewal of unemployment benefits is causing devastating consequences for nearly 23,000 Oregonians looking for work and hurting the state’s economy more each day,” DSCC spokesman Justin Barasky fumed in an email news release the day after the Senate vote last week.

It’s unclear how Wehby and Conger accomplished that since they’re not in the Senate and Oregon’s actual U.S. senators — Merkley and fellow Democrat Ron Wyden — both support extending the benefits. But it’s very clear the DSCC is worried about Merkley’s re-election chances and want to paint his potential opponents as cold-hearted extremists.

Legislators get cash while they can

Legislators will be prohibited from raising campaign money during the 2014 Oregon Legislature, which begins on Feb. 3. That explains why so many of them are sending out fundraising emails now. A good example is Democratic state Rep. Jules Bailey of Portland. Although he isn’t running for re-election, Bailey sent out a Jan. 14 appeal to supporters urging them to contribute to his Multnomah County Commission campaign before the sessions starts.

Bailey says he supports the restriction, but adds, “My opponent isn’t a legislator, which means his campaign doesn’t have to play by the same rules. By comparison, our hands will be tied for a month.”

Of course, Bailey has benefited from his legislative position in the race. He transfered surplus re-election funds to his new campaign. That’s one big reason Bailey, so far, has outraised opponent Brian Wilson by a 6-1 margin.

Didn’t make the cut: Stupid Bridge Name Ideas

Some people have suggested the four proposed names for the new Willamette River transit bridge aren’t very exciting. They may be right, compared with some of the other 9,500 or so names the public submitted.

In terms of cleverness, our favorites are: The Homer Simpson Bridge of Awesomeness, The Cascadia Subduction Zone Bridge, The Feelin’ Groovy Commuter Bridge, Spannawillamma, The ABC Bridge (Anything But Cars), The People in Metropolitan Portland Interurban Natural Bridge, and The Name of This Bridge is the Name of This Bridge.

Surprisingly, very few were insults. Those included A-Big-Waste-Of-Taxpayer-Money, The Suspended Stupid Bridge, and You Don’t Want It, We Built It Anyway.

OK, so maybe Cascadia, Duniway, Tillicum and Wy’east aren’t so bad after all.